Ex-Claimer Leslie's Love Wins A.B. Leggio

Donald Foret felt good about his former claimer's chances on Saturday in the featured $60,000 Dr. A.B. Leggio Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds.

Claimed for $25,000 by Foret, Louisiana-bred Leslie's Love gave her hometown connections something to cheer about by winning the Leggio by a neck over Lady Of Peace.

"I think she is one of the best turf sprinting fillies in the country," said Foret, who was born and raised in New Orleans. "She's a Louisiana-bred that we claimed for $25,000 and she's now won close to $300,000. She 's just awesome."

Leslie's Love victory was the second in a row for a Louisiana-bred following Hallowed Dreams' stake record performance in 2001.

Trained by Connie Tassistro, Leslie's Love earned her sixth victory from nine starts in 2002.

"She loves the grass and she especially loves the grass here," Tassistro said of the Leslie's Love affinity of Stall-Wilson turf course. "She got a great trip and ran her heart out. It made us feel real good about French Riviera being the favorite and never having been on the grass. I don't think we can beat her on the dirt, but we could on the grass."

The 5-year-old daughter of Combat Ready returned $12.60, $5.00, and $4.40.

French Riviera, the 9-10 favorite, opened up a length in the stretch before finishing fourth in the seven-horse field.

"I felt like I had a lot of horse under me," French Riviera jockey Kirk LeBlanc said. "But when I called on her at the top of the lane she was flat. Maybe she didn't like the turf."

Ridden by Shane Sellers, Leslie's Love covered about 5 1/2 furlongs on the firm turf in 1:04.61.

Presumed Innocent closed for third, two lengths behind Lady Of Peace.

(Chart, Equibase)